Canada's Audette burns up F2000 series

DEAN MCNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:25 AM ET

Quebec has produced far more than its share of top Canadian race car drivers over the past several decades.

And most of them like Alex Tagliani, Patrick Carpentier and Andrew Ranger have been on the podium at Mosport International Raceway more than once.

Well you can now add Remy Audette to that distinguished list after the native of St. Anne des Lacs, Que., finished third Friday in the F2000 Championship series on the first day of the Mobil 1 Grand Prix of Mosport.

But unlike the French Canadian stars who preceded him, Audette does not hold out for a career in racing’s highest echelons.

At 26-years-old Audette is still young enough to make the jump to the next level of open wheel racing, but he has a home improvement business back in St. Anne des Lac that keeps him grounded.

He said he has often thought about what it would be like to follow in the footsteps of the Taglianis and Carpentiers but he missed out on the big buck sponsorship deals that propelled those drivers to the top of their respective racing series.

“Keeping the family business alive must come first,” he said after Friday’s podium in the No. 21 Audette Racing Van Dieman/Zetec.

“Racing is a very expensive career so right now it must remain just a fun thing for me.”

Pressed about moving up the racing ladder Audette said his goals are modest, like maybe racing next season in the Grand Am sports car series, but only if he can win the F2000 title this year.

“I have a Ford Mustang that I would like to try racing,” he said. “But we’ll see how things work out.”

So far in 2011 Audette — the lone Canadian racing in the series — is tearing up the F2000 Championship, as he currently is on top of the leader board with 365 points — a 57-point bulge over American Kyle Connery, who won Friday’s first of two races this weekend at Mosport.

Audette said his plan coming to Mosport was to maintain his position as points leader with five races to go in the season.

“The goal is to earn high points at each race, that’s the key to success to claiming a title,” he said.

In his favour is the fact Audette knows how to win on Mosport’s 4-km road course, a place he calls his home track as it is the only Canadian stop on the F2000 race calendar.

“I won here last year in F2000, in the rain,” he said. “That gives me even more confidence and it reassures the rest of the team members. Racing in front of a Canadian crowd is the icing on the cake.”

Audette will get another chance at a win on Saturday in part two of the double header weekend for F2000 and he likes his chances.

“I am above all looking to maintain my lead in the championship and hopefully even increasing it with another victory,” he said.

Audette has three wins in the eight rounds already in the books this season with double headers also scheduled at Lime Rock, Conn., and Watkins Glen, N.Y., next month to finish up the championship.

“They are also tracks where I already have F2000 wins,” he said. “So I am feeling very confident.”

FELLOWS DRIVEN TO WIN

Just because Ron Fellows had his track owner’s hat on Friday at Mosport International Raceway doesn’t mean he has retired his driving helmet.

Fellows, in fact, told the Toronto Sun he has just signed a two-race NASCAR Nationwide Series deal with Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s JR Motorsports squad to race the No. 5 Chevrolet at the ZIPPO 200 at Watkins Glen on Aug. 13 and again the next week at the NAPA 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.

The No. 5 Chevrolet — in both races — will be sponsored by Canadian Tire.

“We are headed to Atlanta (next week) to test with (crew chief) Tony Eury Jr.,” Fellows said. “We had our last Nationwide win (in 2008 at Montreal) in the No. 5 car so we are feeling pretty good about these two races.”

Not to mention that Fellows has five NASCAR wins at the upper New York state road course, three of them in a Nationwide car.

Fellows also finished a controversial second earlier this season in the No. 7 JRM Chevrolet at Road America when NASCAR ruled he passed eventual race winner Reed Sorenson under a yellow flag on the final lap of the race.

“I still feel like we won that race,” Fellows said. “So now we have back-to-back races to try to get that win back.”

It is Fellows’ second season with Canadian Tire as a sponsor and it has carried over to Mosport where the retail giant has ponied up the funding for three big screen television monitors around the track’s 4-km layout for Sunday’s American Le Mans Series main event.

FINISH LINES

Sunday’s American Le Mans Series race at Mosport will be televised live on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada and ESPN in the United States starting at 3 p.m. ... Toronto’s Randy Oswald will start on the pole Saturday in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge in the No. 14 TRG Porsche GT3P. He recorded a lap of one minute, 23.724 seconds. Carlos Gomez of Colombia, will start second after a lap of 1:23.821 with American Melanie Snow third fastest at 1:24.033.

dean.mcnulty@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos